Spotlight on Okra
is one of my family's favorite summertime vegetable! Most people
know it as a battered and deep fried delicacy - capable of clogging any
good Southerner's arteries - or as an important ingredient in
gumbos. However, okra is so much more than that. Okra
originally grew wild in Africa and is one of the few vegetables that
grows very well in the heat of the summer, even here in
. The okra flowers are some of the prettiest
I have ever seen in our garden. The leaves of the okra plant can
be eaten like dandelion or beet greens, although I have never tried
them. Okra is an extremely versatile vegetable and can be boiled,
stewed, fried, browned, incorporated into stews and soups, pickled and
used in salads or on crudite platters. Fresh okra is very
difficult to find because okra is more delicate than it appears.
Within a day or two of harvesting, the outside of the okra will begin
to blacken. Once okra begins to blacken, I will still use it in
casseroles and stews, but I won't serve it raw or lightly
browned. I have only found truly fresh okra in produce markets or
farm stands. Supermarkets just can't get it on the shelf fast
enough after harvesting. If you are lucky enough to find it
fresh, make sure to select the smallest and firmest pods. Once
the okra pod gets too long, it often becomes woody and too hard to eat.
found that we liked it so much, even my largest skillet would not
accommodate enough okra to quench our appetites. Often, we would
be left negotiating for the last of it. It was amazing to see
what the children were willing to trade for a few more slices.
Once you have enjoyed fresh, crisp okra sliced and slightly browned
(without breading) in a cast iron skillet, you will have experienced a
little bit of heaven and understand our love affair with this summer
For the rest of Okra's story, click here.
eating and vibrant living is a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes
I just need to be reminded of this! It's so easy to get totally
caught up in getting as much done as possible that we forget to relax,
breathe and enjoy our life along the way. If a marathoner forgot
to breathe deeply along his route, how long do you think he would
last? He certainly wouldn't be able to finish the race no matter
how hard he had trained! Well, we are the same way. If we
put too much emphasis on our "to do" list (which never gets done
anyway) and too little emphasis on enjoying our family and friends, we
won't finish our race either. I would much rather die with a
smile on my face surrounded by dear friends and family, than die with a
completed "to do" list, alone. So, take some time today to truly
enjoy all of the blessings that God has given you. They may not
always be everything we want, but they are certainly everything we need!
found this terrific salad recipe and boy is it good! What a great
way to fill out a meal with this delicious salad! Feel free to
make substitutes that fit your tastebuds. Click here for Sizzle Salad recipe.